I believe that people are resilient. When she was 19 years old, my mother’s father died; and she moved from her home in Israel to the state of Texas. She began to attend a local college and pursue the American dream. After meeting and falling in love with a man in her class, she got married, started a family, and soon after quit school. As a young mother of four, far from her family Jerusalem, her once vivid American dream slowly faded. My father left her alone many nights and days without money, food, or means of transportation. For weeks he would be gone and then show up demanding that my mother let him have “peace and quiet.” He wanted control and many times we were forced out of the house until he left again. We spent many days at the park close to our apartment running, laughing, playing on the playground, pretending not to be affected by what had happened earlier.
After my mother separated from my father, we were forced to move into a smaller, government-owned housing complex; and my mother had to raise three rambunctious boys and a young girl by herself. She fought to find money and resources to sustain her family, resorting to food stamps and other government assistance. Strong in spirit she got a job at a daycare working for minimum wage. She was determined to equip us with values, education, and the strong work ethic that she felt we needed to rise above our circumstances. Drugs, theft, gangs, and the pressure to resort to illegal activities just to survive often weighed heavy upon our family; yet we did not succumb—we were resilient.
I have learned through the struggles and dark times that faced my family that even though we may feel defeated, those were the very same times that strengthened us as a family, as we supported each other. Though heartache and tragedy are never limited to how much our lives can take, as we have realized when Katrina hit our home in 2005, they cannot control the outcome of their effects. My mother earned her bachelor’s degree, and I am a graduate student in social work. My eldest brother mange’s a care team that assists the needy in his community; one of my younger brothers lives and serves at an orphanage in Mexico and the other is attending college and volunteers as a music minister for a youth group. My life experiences and those of my family give me reason to believe that people are resilient; that setbacks, struggles, and pain can be overcome and can drive us to be stronger, better people.
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